Table Talk

Pho is headliner at new Asian Bistro in Lewis Center

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RYAN M.L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
Manager Kevin Luong, with head chef Vi Leng, has opened Saigon Asian Bistro at 50 Neverland Drive.

Diversity of cuisine is growing in Lewis Center.

Saigon Asian Bistro has brought its brand of Vietnamese cuisine to the former Mulan storefront at 50 Neverland Drive.

Owner Kevin Luong said pho noodle soups, made from slow-cooked homemade stock, are the focus of the menu, which also includes popular Vietnamese rice dishes, as well as some Chinese fare.

"It's hard to open a Vietnamese restaurant and not do Chinese if you want more business," he said.

Most lunches are in the $7 range while dinners are in the $8 to $10 range.

He argues there aren't a lot of full-service Asian restaurants in the area, while the passion for pho is growing.

For the time being, banh mi -- the treasured sandwiches served on crusty baguette -- will not be served, he said.

And he acknowledges the restaurant is in a difficult spot, with little visibility from a major roadway.

The 3,482-square-foot building was constructed in 1999.

It was home to Yu's followed by Mulan. It has been vacant for some time.

Luong, a former manager at a Mark Pi's Express, said he will use budget-priced marketing techniques -- coupons, specials and aggressive word of mouth -- to spread the word about this restaurant.

He said he left the modernly decorated interior pretty much intact. The restaurant seats 122.

Saigon Asian Bistro is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 740-657-8887.

 

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Nanak Bakery is back, although it never really went away.

Owner Fatimah Tajik will open a new storefront April 6 -- the third in the bakery's 15-year history -- at 5462 Westerville Road in the Alum Creek Plaza just north of state Route 161.

Nanak occupies a total of 2,000 square feet of space, with limited seating.

It maintains its roster of artisan cakes, decorative special-occasion cakes, plus an assortment of baked goods such as cream puffs, napoleons and cookies.

There are sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free and eggless cakes available.

No savory fare is being offered at the moment.

Tajik and her husband, Hoomin Soltanirad, opened the first bakery in 1999 on Bethel Road.

They relocated in 2009 to a former Tee Jaye's Country Place, 895 S. State St. in Westerville.

Although they introduced full-service dining, it was simply too much space, Tajik said.

After that location closed in 2012, she continued to bake from a professional kitchen in the Northland area.

Nanak is open five days a week and closed Monday and Tuesday.

For more information, call 614-882-8080.

Nick Vlasidis had to reorient his plan for offering inexpensive fried chicken in Columbus.

He was poised to open an original concept known as Chix & Fries in the area bordering Clintonville and Northland.

However, after a change in business plans, he has purchased a Krispy Krunchy Chicken franchise.

The chain based in Lafayette, La., is a quick-serve restaurant concept with more than 900 retail locations in 27 states.

Krispy Krunchy Chicken will be part of the Sunoco gas station complex at 700 E. North Broadway and Interstate 71.

The fried chicken store will share interior space with a Subway franchise, which Vlasidis also owns.

He said it is expected to open by mid-June.

 

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HC Way Asian Bistro is expanding. The quick-serve Asian restaurant will soon take over 2,000 square feet of space in Olentangy Plaza.

It will be bookended by Chipotle and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

The original store opened in October 2011 in Crosswoods.

Owner Hangchun Zheng said he expects a late May opening.

 

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